Make a Will Checklist

How to prepare to create your will

by Vincent Hoonings
2 min. read

Writting your Will may seem like a daunting task but nothing is less true


On wills.com we guide you through every step of the process 

Before you get started here are a few things you want to start thinking about


by Stephanie Horsman
2 min. read

Physician-assisted death (PAD) is legal in nine US states as well as in Washington DC. For many, the choice to “opt-out” before severe pain or confusion makes end-of-life unbearable is a humane and dignified way to go. Here are the ins and outs of how and where this is possible.

Top FAQs

When creating a will, you must possess the legal competency or mental capacity to do so.  Otherwise, the will may not be considered valid by the court. However, simply because someone has a mental illness or disease, that does not mean they automatically lack the required mental capacity.  In fact, if the testator has periods of clarity, he or she could still be considered competent at the time the will is executed, if it occurs during that period of lucidity.

The answer will depend on all of the circumstances in your situation, but there are living trust and testamentary trusts. Testamentary trusts are created in a will and take effect when you die. They can be used to manage the distribution of assets that weren't specifically dealt with in the last will and testament form, such as property you acquired later.

This FAQ needs clarification. 

You should choose witnesses who are adults (at least 18 years old), are not named as beneficiaries, and are not the spouse of a named beneficiary in your will.

A self-proving will is signed a will with separate witness affidavits attached. The witness affidavits are notarized statements signed by the testator and each witness confirming that they signed the document that is, in fact, the testator’s will. in a way that allows a probate court to easily accept it as the true will of the person who has died. In some states, a will is self-proving when two witnesses sign under penalty of perjury that they observed the testator sign it and that he told them it was his will.  A self-proving will is basically 

many courts will require the witness to appear at court, either personally or by sworn statement. If there is any trouble locating a witness, it could cause problems or delays with probate. But if you include a self-proving affidavit with your will, the affidavit itself proves the will without any additional statements from the witnesses. This could speed up the probate process

A self-proved will constitutes prima facie evidence of proper execution, without the necessity of witness testimony to prove the will.

A self-proving will is a will with an attached affidavit signed by a notary public stating that the will was properly signed and witnessed and that it is the will of the person who signed it. Many states allow such wills in order to avoid the difficulties of tracking down the witnesses. Having a self-proving will eliminates the need for witnesses to appear before the court in order to have the will admitted to probate.


If the will is self proved, compliance with the signature requirements for execution is conclusively presumed and other requirements of execution are presumed subject to rebuttal without the testimony of any witness unless there is proof of forgery affecting the acknowledgment or a sworn statement.

A Self-proving Affidavit of Execution is a document that attests to the fact that your Will has been properly executed. The Affidavit must be signed by you and your witnesses in front of a Notary Public. Probating a Will is less expensive if the witnesses do not have to testify in court. By having the witnesses to your Will join you in appearing before a Notary Public and signing this Affidavit under oath, you can waive the requirement for one or more of your witnesses to appear later before a probate court to acknowledge proper execution of your Will. This is helpful if one of your witnesses dies before you or is not available to appear at probate court.


If you did not prepare a self-proving Will, your Will is still valid, but where a witness has died or is no longer available to attest to their own signature, the probate court will have to affirm the signature of your witness in some other way, perhaps the signature on an old bank account.

Executor(s) of your estate are entitled to payment, however, most executors who are close family members do not ask to be paid. In situations when an executor gets paid, probate courts decide what is reasonable pay based state laws. 


An executor, also referred to  as your personal representative, is named in your will as the person who will carry out your wishes after your death. Your personal representative pays your outstanding debts from your estate's assets and distributes your remaining assets (real and personal property) to heirs that you name as beneficiaries.

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